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What did earlier humans really look like? What was life like for them, millions of years ago? How do we know? In this
book, internationally renowned paleoartist John Gurche describes the extraordinary process by which he creates
forensically accurate and hauntingly realistic representations of our ancient human ancestors.
Inspired by a lifelong fascination with all things prehistoric, and gifted with a unique artistic vision, Gurche has
studied fossil remains, comparative ape and human anatomy, and forensic reconstruction for over three decades. His
artworks appear in world-class museums and publications ranging from National Geographic to the journal Science, and he
is widely known for his contributions to Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park and a number of acclaimed television specials.
For the Smithsonian Institution’s groundbreaking David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, opened in 2010, Gurche created
fifteen sculptures representing six million years of human history. In Shaping Humanity he relates how he worked with a
team of scientists to depict human evolution in sculpture for the new hall. He reveals the debates and brainstorming
that surround these often controversial depictions, and along the way he enriches our awareness of the various paths of
human evolution and humanity’s stunning uniqueness in the history of life on Earth.